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Books by Title: A - B - C


Buy Agamemnon Now
Agamemnon - the greek play by Aeschylus (sp?)
Particularly for the character Clytemnestra, a seriously ruthless, kick-ass woman. When Agamemnon kills their daughter as a sacrifice to the gods for good winds to carry his ship to the trojan wars, Clytemnestra is left waiting for him to return for nine long years. During that time, she plans her husband's murder and takes a lover. She truly shines as a Heartless Bitch. or privately treated...

Buy Ammonite Now
Ammonite - by Nicola Griffith
The story of a world where a virus kills all men that land there and integrates itself into the women's bodies, with some very interesting effects. This is an all-woman story set in different cultures, but focusing on one traveler who learns about her own place as she deals with the virus, a new love, and a possible war. The women in Griffith's stories survive in situations of abandonment, captivity, and abuse, and come through in record style, picking up some serious bitchiness along the way.

Buy Amazon Now

Amazon by Barbara Walker
An Amazon woman gets transported through time to modern day America and is rescued by a modern day woman. The heroine is strong, able, has a mind of her own and acts on her convictions. She examines contemporary society, sexuality, Christianity, and how they have shaped women's lives. A thought-provoking read.

Buy Angry Women Now

Angry Women - by the RESearch folks
A compilation of interviews with the angriest, kick ass, hip, HBs around e.g. Diamanda Galas (who makes even polly jean look like a choir girl), Linda Montano, Susie Bright, etc. RESearch recently published a sequel called: Angry Women in Rock, with quotes like "All women should carry guns. They're the only ones who really need them." Both books are true, righteous HB material.

Buy Arrows of the Queen Now
Arrows of the Queen - by Mercedes Lackey
The heroine isn't exactly bitchy but there are definitely some HB's in high positions - like the Queen - and it's just a good ol' read...

Buy Atlas Shrugged Now

Atlas Shrugged - by Ayn Rand
Features my favorite female heroine of all time- Dagny Taggart. In a classic reversal, she is the strong and independent industrialist amidst a group of rich-boy male whiners. Near the end of the novel, Dagny is single-handedly responsible for keeping the collapse of the U.S. economy at bay. her integrity and self-confidence are the epitome of the HB, and she truly earns the respect of her peers.

Buy Aurora Leigh Now
Aurora Leigh - a novel length poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
The general opinion about Elizabeth is that everything she wrote was mushy, "How do I love thee?" stuff, but she was a gutsy woman. One of the characters in this poem is an unwed mother who had the chance to marry and, in nineteenth century terms, to be redeemed, but chose not to. Aurora herself wouldn't marry the man she loved until he had read her work and loved and admired her for her worth as a human being. It's a bit difficult to get into, as it's entirely in verse, but well worth the effort.

Buy The Awakening Now
The Awakening - by Kate Chopin
One of the great American novels. Edna Pontellier is a woman in turn-of-the-century New Orleans, and she awakens to the realization that there is more to life than being a wife and mother. Early in the novel she states that she would give up the unessential, but she would never sacrifice herself for her children. The rest of the novel reveals the full implications of that statement.


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Buy Bastard Out of Carolina Now

Bastard Out of Carolina - by Dorothy Allison
-- The story of a young girl growing up in the deep south. When her mother remarries, she must learn to survive her abusive stepfather and ultimately make cruicial decisions which will change the course of her life.

Buy Beauty Now
Beauty - by Sheri S. Tepper
A novel based on the various helpless-women fairy tales we were all weaned on. The central character, Beauty, learns to work with her strengths and shortcomings. She has her physical attractiveness taken away from her after having learned that a) it was only an illusion anyway, and b) it wasn't always a benefit to be beautiful, and the most important parts of a person have nothing to do with how they look. Beauty gradually becomes a real woman instead of just a lovely icon. Without revealing the complex (but very readable) plot, I will say that she sets a unique and ruthless revenge time bomb--many years in advance--for a man who hurt her. There is humor, pain, suffering, some love and happiness, and though it is far from hopeless in its reality sucks message, nobody really lives happily ever after. What a relief--women have been bludgeoned by that myth far too long.

Buy Beauty Fades, Dumb Is Forever Now
Beauty Fades, Dumb Is Forever : The Making of a Happy Woman - by Judy Sheindlin
From the synopsis:
With her trademark humor, yet no-holds-barred style, Judge Judy gives women the "heads up" on feeling unshakably good about themselves. She explores most women's almost automatic need to defer to men, and demonstrates how women can grow in confidence and inner strength. Funny, direct, harsh as truth itself, here Judge Judy confronts that reality, using sample cases, punctuated with her own stories, and interviews with women of every background--from the most affluent and successful, to young girls just starting out

The Bell Jar - by Slyvia Plath
Sylvia Plath's semi-autobiographical novel of one woman's descent into madness, and her re-emergence into sanity. The story is told with wry, biting humor, and rife with cynicism, and satire.

Buy Bitch Now
Bitch : In Praise of Difficult Women - by Elizabeth Wurtzel
From The Washington Post Book World, Barbara Raskin -
"Bitch is a show-stopping, name-dropping, gossip-dishing, wild rock-n-roll performance--a Janis Joplin-Courtney Love-Madonna-style raucous, raving, ranting, shout-in-your-face soliloquy.... Although I'm not always certain what the author is saying, I definitely love her for saying it."

Buy Bitter Grounds Now
Bitter Grounds - by Sandra Benitez
(Fiction) - "Chronicles the lives of three generations of women in war-torn El Salvador. After losing most of their family during the massacres of 1932, Mercedes Prietas and her daughter Jacinta go to work for Elena de Contreras and her family, who own enormous coffee and cotton plantations. During the next 40 years, the women of both families help each other endure the many hardships that come their way." --HB Bookclub nomininee

Buy Blessing Now
Blessings - by Sheneska Jackson
(Fiction) - "At the center of the novel are four vibrant women who are searching for happiness as they grapple with such difficult issues as female bonding, infertility, adoption, abortion, and child discipline." --HB Bookclub nomininee

Blue Heaven - by Joe Keenan
This book is about aspiring composer Philip Cavagnaugh, his friend and sometimes lover Gilbert Selwyn, and Gilbert's hapless plan to marry superbitch Moira Fitch in order to collect a fortune in presents from Gilbert's (unknown to them initially) mafia in-laws and Moira's duchess mother. A typical reaction to someone learning that Gilbert is going to marry Moira is "that cunt?". Gilbert himself once said of Moira that "when she sucks on an icecube, it doesn't melt, it gets bigger."


Some of Moira's heartless achievements are:

  • her "duchess" mother actually turns out to be living in a trailer in the desert without a trace of royalty
  • she informs Gilbert that they are being blackmailed by an old enemy of Gilberts
  • she forces Gilbert and Phillip to come up with $7,000 in blackmail money, and then keeps the blackmail money for herself
  • she carries on an affair with the aging Mr. Bombelli in order to collect additional presents
Moira generally lies to everyone involved, including her co-conspirators. In this respect, she may be more of a "Conniving" Bitch rather than a "Heartless" Bitch, though she probably fits in both categories.

This is the funniest book I've read in years. I highly recommend it. The author, Joe Keenan, is the head writer for the TV show, "Frazier". Unfortunately the sequel to Blue Heaven, "Putting on the Ritz", wasn't quite as good, but has it's moments in a send-up of a Donald Trump type.

Buy Bone Now

Bone - by Jeff Smith Image Comics, 2400 E. Katella Ave. Suite 1065, Anaheim, CA 92806
If you like things like Chuck Jones' animated work (Bugs Bunny, the Road Runner, some Tom & Jerry, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Phantom Tollbooth . . .), you'll love this; witty, hilarious, tongue-in-cheek, adventure-packed, intelligently whimsical, and wonderfully drawn. Look for the cow-racing, salty-tongued Gramma Ben, a great HB prototype. TPB compilations available.

Buy Gate of Ivrel Now
Buy Well of Shiuan Now
Buy Fires of Azeroth Now
Buy Exile's Gate Now
The Book of Morgaine - by C.J. Cherryh
Consisting of the titles,"Gate of Ivrel", "Well of Shiuan", "Fires of Azeroth", and "Exile's Gate".
Morgaine is the last of a team dispatched to close the Gates, a technology the qhal used to travel between worlds and time. She is single-minded in her determination, traveling through each gate to destroy it. She is a killer of armies, carrying the blade Changling. She "claims" Vanye, a disgraced warrior. A truly heartless bitch, she uses him and everyone else to accomplish her purpose.

Buy The Book of Women Now

The Book of Women: 300 Notable Women that History passed By - by Lynne Griffin and Kelly McCann
This book features paragraph-long bios of women, almost all of whom should be on your Honorary HB list. Plus, you probably haven't heard of most of them. Here's our favorite:

From Page 18:
Mary Bickerdyke

Bickerdyke was a one woman whirlwind whose sole aim during the Civil War was to more efficiently care for wounded Union soldiers, no matter what. If improving the level of care meant scrubbing up after filthy, incompetent doctors, then she would scrub every surface in sight. If improving the level of care meant antagonizing the hospital staff by threatening to report drunken physicians, then she would antagonize them. If improving the level of care meant ordering a staff member who had illegally appropriated garments meant for the wounded to strip the clothes off, then she would order him to strip! Bickerdyke stepped on a lot of male toes, but she won most of her fights. One ruffled male appealed to General William Tecumseh Sherman to take action against her, but was disappointed by the reply he received: "Well, I can do nothing for you; she outranks me."

Buy Butterfly Now
Buy Obsession Now
Butterfly - by Kathryn Harvey (Villard Books 1988)
Synopsis from inside of the dust-jacket:
Why would a woman completely transform herself-her face and her life-and, with relentless determination, build a multimillion-dollar Beverly Hills empire? Why would she start the world's most unusual brothel, where women go to fulfill their wildest sexual fantasies?
For revenge.
On glamorous Rodeo Drive in Bevely Hills is an exclusive men's store, one of many. But this particular boutique is special. If you look closely, you'll notice that some of the female shoppers are wearing identical bracelets with an elegant butterfly symbol. Although the butterfly bracelet could pass as the fashion trend of the moment, it is really something more-a ticket of admission to "Butterfly," the world's most astonishing brothel. Here, at Butterfly, women can fulfill their wildest sexual fantasies, in any type of setting they choose, with any partner they desire. Sheer paradise-except when the private obsessions acted out at Butterfly begin to take over the public lives of some very highly placed, very prominent women. Butterfly is the complex story of several women who control this secret place, each with a broken heart, a secret past, a desire for success, and, above all, an insatiable lust for revenge. Gradually, their destinies come together in a shocking conclusion, in which all is revealed-including the identity of the mysterious proprietor of Butterfly.

-C- Top of Page
Buy Callahan Chronicles
The Callahan Chronicles - by Spider Robinson
The basic plot in these books is: a couple from the future is sent back in time to prevent the destruction of the Earth. (OK, sounds trite, but it's all uphill from there.) The man in this couple is Mike Callahan, he runs a bar while his wife runs a unique house in the red light district for both men and women artists. They bring with them an open attitude regarding gender roles, sexuality, profession and species, while at the same time insisting on personal accountability, integrity, achievements, friendship and community involvement. Simultaneously they demand to have a good time, puns, pranks, jokes, or a good game of chess are all acceptable. This attitude attracts a diverse group of friends who have interesting experiences and episodes of personal growth. This series of books is as funny as Esther Friesner's Chicks series and is as much fantasy as sci-fi in nature.

Buy Catch & Release Now
Catch & Release - the Insider's Guide to Alaska Men - by Jane Haigh, Patricia Walsh, & Kelley Hegarty Lammers
From Terrence Cole, Fairbanks Daily News Miner -- "Not every Alaska man or woman who reads "The Insider's Guide to Alaska Men" will think it's immediately humorous, and that's why this is such a hilarious book. Three Fairbanks women Jane Haigh, Kelley Hegarty Lammers and Pat Walsh prove that truth is funnier than fiction. For good reason, local booksellers report that this light-hearted look at Alaskans of the male persuasion is a best-seller. Virtually every chapter deserves the Dave Barry refrain: We're not making this up." In fact, Barry could probably get ideas for a years worth of columns out of "Catch and Release", and this book would keep the "Red Green Show "supplied with material until well into syndication. "

Buy Cat's Eye Now
Cat's Eye - by Margaret Atwood
A searingly straight story of teenage bullying and our talent as women for victimizing ourselves. Good people would side with the victim, and even we bitches think the bully is too much. A must-read for everyone with teenage daughters or too many axes to grind, because the victim works her way out of the oppression and gets back. BACK!

Buy Chicks in Chainmail Now
Chicks in Chainmail - Friesner, Esther, ed.
First off, in the introduction, Esther says that the publishers cringed at her title for this collection of off-beat fantasy stories. The stories all deal with heroines in traditional fantasy settings, but not the traditional outcomes. Imagine a story where the king decides that brass brassieres are taxable (because they aren't required equipment), but that jock straps are exempt -- and the ladies end up being able to solve this through their HMO (and get the king to change the law, because the treasury is going broke from the solution). Or what happens when Hillary Clinton ends up in Valhalla after a train wreck. Odin sends her back. These are stories all about women using their brains and muscles. In fact, the only male supporting hero isn't the sort of whining character we all despise -- he gets in there and does something. The real joke is on the losers who bought this book imagining some kind of Tits-and-Ass content, only to find out that they don't get it!!

Buy Did You Say Chicks!? Now
Buy Chicks 'n Chained Males Now
Chicks II and III - edited by Esther Friesner
The follow-on anthologies in the "Chicks in Chainmail" series: "Did You Say Chicks!? (Smile When You Say That)" and "Chicks 'n Chained Males". The second book has the same themes as the first "Chicks", and Chicks III has a central theme of males in distress, rescued by knights in shining bronze bras. Both anthologies are full of humor, wit, and insight, and definately contain their share of Heartless Bitches. In fact, one of the stories in Chicks II is titled "A Bitch In Time". Wonderful Collections!

Buy The Four-gated City Now
Buy Landlocked Now
Buy Martha Quest Now
Buy A Ripple From the Storm Now
Children of Violence Series - by Doris Lessing
A series which tells the story of Martha Quest, a true HB, just like the author, growing up in the snobby, racist, white environment of colonial southern Africa. She leaves her husband and child to join the Communists in kicking the nazis' asses, in a society where it is shocking for a woman even to think an independent thought. Doris Lessing's a genius and an HB goddess...

In the series are the following books: Martha Quest

A Proper Marriage
A Ripple From the Storm
The Four-gated City A quote on men (and certain women):
"Martha interrupted with,' I don't see why we should treat them like so many children.' She resented having to use that 'we', associating herself with Mrs. Talbot's division of humanity."

Buy Bazil Broketail Now
Buy A Sword for a Dragon Now
Buy Battledragon Now
Buy Dragons of War Now
Buy The Wizard and the Floating City Now

Christopher Rowley - A series of books about a boy and his dragon. In order, they are:

1. Bazil Broketail
2. A Sword for a Dragon
3. Dragons of War
4. Battledragon
5. The Wizard and the Floating City.

Although the main characters are a boy and his dragon, one of the major elements is about an empire that is run (controlled) by women. (Real Heartless Bitches). They run it for the greater good of all, which means that they have to make some rather ruthless decisions, including getting rid of unpleasant people (mainly men) who threaten the stability of the empire.

Buy The Color of Water Now
The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to his White Mother - by James McBride
A jewish woman marries a black man in 1941. She raises 12 children who all grow up to have college degrees. When her son asks her what color "God" is, she says "God is the color of water". Very inspirational It is for all HB's as she fights hard for her children, but doesn't let the biggots affect her.

Buy The Coldest WINTER Now!
The Coldest WINTER Ever - by Sister Souljah
Winter, the main character in this book, is the epitome of Heartless Bitchiness. Over the course of a year,her life gets twisted in all directions, family and friends turn their backs on her and she finds herself alone, yet somehow, she manages to keep a cool head- using her street smarts and sexuality to pull herself through.

Buy The Color Purple Now
The Color Purple - by Alice Walker
A Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. While the main character, Celie, starts off the book as a victim of abuse, forced marriage, and spousal abuse, she pulls herself up with the help of her husband's mistress. She eventually leaves her husband, finds a life of her own, and starts her own business. Pretty impressive, considering that she's black and living in the deep South around the turn-of-the-century.

Buy Contact Now
Contact - by Carl Sagan
The main plot of the book is the journey of a scientist, Ellie Straghton, through her discovery of intelligent life on other planets and all the implications in society and in her own perception of the world. Ellie is one smart, sensible and determined bitch, she stands for herself, fights for her discovery and is sensitive and self-aware enough to understand the deeper meaning of all she goes through. The sub-plot about the existence of God challenges conventional thinking. The main character is the quintessential Heartless Bitch: calm, competent, self-aware and fiercely smart. Actress and director Jodie Foster adapted this book for the screen, and, although the movie did capture some of the sense of wonder and philosophical aspects of the book, Sagan's work is much, much deeper, and the main characters are much more developped.

Buy Control Freak Now
Control Freak - by Christa Faust
An erotic novel in which the protagonist, Caitlin, a writer of cheesy potboilers, discovers her true nature while going "undercover" at an exclusive S&M club, trying to dredge up information about the gruesome mutilation killing of a former "slave" of the club. The book isn't so much about the whodunit as an exploration of Caitlin's emerging dominant persona and the things she discovers about herself. There are some graphic parts, sexual and otherwise, so it's definitely not for kids, and those uncomfortable with descriptions of S&M scenes may want to give it a pass. Caitlin is a real Heartless Bitch to begin with, and the development of her character is very well done.

Buy Conundrum Now
Conundrum: An Extraordinary Narrative of Transsexualism - by Jan Morris
(Autobiography) The elegantly written memoir of a renowned travel writer’s journey across the boundaries of sexual identity. --HB Bookclub nomininee

Buy Courage To Heal Now
Buy Courage To Heal Workbook Now
Courage to Heal - by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis
(From "The WomanSource Catalog & Review: Tools for Connecting the Community for Women;" review by Patricia Pettijohn , February 1, 1997)

The classic and definitive self-help guide for women survivors of sexual abuse, The Courage To Heal is a tool for recovery that works. This is also the book often cited by those who challenge the credibility of incest survivors. Some survivors of childhood abuse recover memories of these traumatic early experiences years after the original events, and it is these recovered memories that are said to be false memories, implanted in the allegedly impressionable minds of survivors. I was curious to see how this revised and expanded third edition would differ from the much maligned first. In addition to an Afterword that carefully analyzes and refutes the false memory syndrome argument, the authors have made revisions throughout the book which offer guidelines for assessing confusing memories. The authors' commitment to survivors is clear throughout the book, beginning with the book's endorsements, which come not from therapists, but from anonymous survivors. This is a comprehensive, supportive, carefully worded and often passionate book, as helpful for those who are the partners, friends or family of survivors, as for survivors themselves.

Buy Crazy in Alabama Now

Crazy in Alabama --I don't know if it was more heartless or determined chasing of a goal, but it is a book about a very weird woman. She gets sick of her hubby and kids so she kills the husband and ditches the kids at Grandma's. She then takes off for California screwing over a number of guys along the way. The weird bit though is, she takes her husband's head with her. It's a fun read. There's also a second plot about racial intolerance in the south during the 1950s playing in the background.

Buy Crocodile On The Sandbank Now

Crocodile On The Sandbank - by Elizabeth Peters
A mystery set in the late 1800s. The main character is a strong woman who doesn't feel the need for a man to fill any voids in her life. Her outlook challenges many gender notions from that time period as well as our own.

Buy Crypt of Dawn Now
Crypt of Dawn - by Joseph Michael Linsner
This grahic novel, set in Manhattan, comes highly rated, and the artwork is superb. JML's portrayal of a beautiful woman goes beyond the 'norm. Not only is Dawn beautiful, she battles both the hierarchies of above and below.
"As a being who can travel to Heaven and Hell and all points in between, Dawn dances in and out of the lives of both mortals and gods alike. She normally acts as a catalyst in human affairs, or an impartial observer or messenger in the affairs of God and Lucifer."

More information about Dawn can be found at the Sirius website!

Buy Cunt Now
Cunt : A Declaration of Independence - by Inga Muscio
Cunt is a grossly empowering book which provides a genealogical account of the word "cunt" and how it acquired the negative conotation which has been manifested in the way society views women and how women view themselves. In a humorous and frank manner, Muscio expoundes upon personal experience as well as historical experiences of women as a whole, arming women with the knowledge to reclaim their bodies and their self-esteem.

Buy Cutting Loose Now
Cutting loose: Why women who end their marriages do so Well - by Ashton Applewhite
This book describes women who both ended their marriages and not only survived but thrived. Many of the women were emotional children when they married and discovered a core of steel within as they fought for their own well-being. Some had to fight divorce lawyers as well as slimy soon-to-be-ex-husbands who attempted to screw them over as well. This book is an inspiration and a counterpoint to the popular idea bandied about as truth that women lose out on life when they divorce. It also shows the process that some women go through in becoming heartless bitches.

Buy Cybil Disobedience Now
Cybil Disobedience : How I Survived Beauty Pageants, Elvis, Sex, Bruce Willis, Lies, Marriage, Motherhood, Hollywood, and the Irrepressible Urge to Say What I Think - by Cybil Shepard
This is a true Heartless Bitch. I must say I admire this woman for speaking out against the masses that consider women over 40 to be clinically dead. Its a must read for woman who have had to beat the odds.

Buy Cynic's Lexicon Now
Cynic's Lexicon - by Jonathon Green
Revealing the cynic's approach to the important things in life, this is an unabashed collection of utterly amoral advice that is both stylish and funny.

Buy Cyteen Now
Cyteen - by C.J. Cherryh
In a futuristic world of cybernetics, two young friends become trapped in an endless nightmare of suspicion, surveillance, programmable servants, a centuries-old ruling class, and an enigmatic Heartless Bitch of a woman who rules them all.

This book is a compendium of all 3 volumes in the original trilogy.

Tell us about more books we should add to this list. Be sure to add some kind of short review or commentary about the book as well as the title and author!

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